- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 23, 2005

Christopher Lapp, the first person to drive cross-country fueled by ethanol, said he and his 48-year-old Cadillac are proof that alternative fuels work.

“To be able to do it with a classical car and new fuel, I thought it was interesting and unique,” said Mr. Lapp, who is a nuclear and environmental consultant.

Mr. Lapp drove 7,000 miles using ethanol, an alternative fuel made by fermenting and distilling grain, sugar and corn.

The Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible — a classic automobile that he converted to run primarily on ethanol — ran smoothly and saved money.

“Overall, it would have probably been more expensive to drive cross-country on gasoline rather than ethanol,” he said. He started the trip on Memorial Day.

The price per gallon varied across the country, the cheapest being $1.59 in the Midwest and $2.40 at the Navy Annex Citgo in the District, he said.

On Capitol Hill, using ethanol as an alternative source of fuel has been one of the most contentious provisions in the energy bill.

The legislation includes increasing U.S. production of oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear and alternative energy sources.

Doug Durante, executive director for Clean Fuels Development Coalition, said the bill requires 8 billion gallons of ethanol to replace 8 billion gallons of crude oil.

Officials at the American Coalition for Ethanol said that by increasing the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, the need for crude oil would drop by 2 billion gallons annually.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries produces about one-third of the world’s crude oil, which closed at $59.42 yesterday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Ethanol is a cleaner-burning fuel,” said Brian Jennings, executive vice president of the ethanol coalition. “Every gallon of ethanol you use displaces seven-tenths of a gallon of petroleum. Using ethanol is almost like removing 1 million cars from the road.”

Mr. Lapp said he plans to travel to Omaha, Neb., for the 2005 American Coalition for Ethanol Conference in August.

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